Professor Richard Dawkins is highly respected worldwide as a scientist, an outspoken atheist, and author of The Selfish Gene, The God Delusion, and a dozen or so other best-selling books about biology, biography, and atheism. On February 13, 2009, he was part of a team of scientists invited to take part in the dissection of a giraffe’s neck to study its recurrent laryngeal nerve. Such a dissection had been done on a giraffe only once before that we have record of, in 1838. So it was good to be able to do it again on a giraffe that had died in a zoo.
As expected, this nerve — two nerves actually; one on each side — was found to go from the animal’s brain all the way down its long neck to the area of its its heart, just missing the larynx by about an inch. Then it wrapped around a major artery (a different on one each side), and ran back up to control the larynx at the top of the neck. Altogether, the nerve is about 15 feet longer than necessary, which exposes it to a variety of unnecessary dangers.
Dawkins says we expect imperfections from evolution.
Dawkins points out that this is exactly the kind of thing we expect from evolution, and he explains why. The giraffe inherited its incredibly long nerves from its fish ancestors, where the arrangement was practical because fish have no necks. As fish morphed into amphibians, then reptiles, and finally birds and mammals, the arrangement became less and less practical. But evolution can’t change something like that just because it’s no longer the best arrangement; evolution has to work with what it has. When a problem is serious enough, it can lead to the extinction of a species. This is one reason why an estimated 99% (at least) of all species that ever lived live no more.
Dawkins points out several reasons why no intelligent designer would have created the giraffe that way. It’s the kind of thing one would only expect to find if evolution were true, as it is.
In the video below, Rick Gerhardt, who is both a conservation biologist and a Christian apologist, discusses Dawkins’ video and tries pitifully to debunk it. He specializes in avian ecology and has special interests also in beetles and snakes. The kinds of of arguments he makes here don’t sound like a scientist of any kind, but they sound exactly like the kinds of arguments I read from ignorant creationists all the time.
You be the judge. I say, “Shame on Rick Gerhardt for trying to debunk good science.”